Most of the recent Shojo Beat titles have been pretty good, so I thought I’d give the newest series a try. Oresama Teacher opens with a fighting spirit that leaves readers impatient to know more.
The Gist: Mayfuyu is heralded in high school as the hard-hitting delinquent. When she gets herself expelled, her mother makes her cut her hair and attend a new high school in the country-side. With a newer, more feminine attitude, Mayfuyu is determined to quench her fighting spirit. But changing your true self is not so easy. Mafuyu finds herself in a tough spot after defending a young guy who turns out to be her new teacher! The teacher, Takaomi, is part of Mafuyu’s childhood and won’t let her forget her roots. Another delinquent student at the school, Hayasaka, becomes Mayfuyu’s pet project. Trying to straighten out Hayasaka may help resolve some of her own issues, but does Takaomi want Mayfuyu to change?
The Characters/Romance: The character of Mafuyu is a little on the dense side. I appreciate her fighting spirit, but her impulsiveness is what brings on the trouble. At this point I can’t decide if I like Takaomi or not. Being a teacher, it’s difficult to approve of teacher-student relationships. But my guess is that Takaomi has always admired Mayfuyu and there is more going on that the audience still doesn’t know about. We see Takaomi make a gamble with the principal at the end of the volume. Hayasaka is a focal point of humor at this stage. He is a delinquent “wanna be” that cannot make it through his own fights. He recognizes Mafuyu’s own blood lust, and finds it intimidating. His actions, coincided with Mafuyu’s reactions to him, provide for some funny situations. I don’t know if the relationships between these three characters will become a love triangle eventually, but it sure does feel that way from the first volume.
The Artwork: Izumi Tsubaki has a nice piece of work with Oresama Teacher. The characters are well designed and very expressive. The paneling is well composed. Tsubaki makes good use of speed lines for the action sequences. There is just the right balance of line art and toning as well – not a lot of the “fluffy” shojo background fillers, like sparkles and flowers. The art fits the tone of the story.
The Audience: Cuddly. Viz rates Oresama Teacher “T” for Teen. I think the first volume is fine for a teen audience. The only caution would be the amount of violence due to all the delinquent fighting. I think if the relationship between Takaomi and Mafuyu goes anywhere, then my rating would need to change.
The Media: Oresama Teacher volume 1 is available from Viz media. Volume 2 is expected to be released May 3rd, 2011.